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Adam Kadmon and the Light of Redemption

Lurianic Cosmology - Creation and Redemption
Lurianic Cosmology

diagram from  Rabbi Levi I. Krakovsky, Kabbalah, the Light of Redemption,  p.98] 

(apologies for the dodgy image - I only had a hand-held scanner ) 

explanation of the diagram

K = Keter (Crown), which represents the Godhead or Source
A = Hokmah, which has the Divine name A"B, numerical value 72
B = Binah, which has the Divine name S"G, value 63 (not shown here)
45 = Tifaret or Z"O, which has the Divine Name M"A, value 45
52 = Malkut, which has the Divine Name B"N, value 52
The five right-hand columns represent the five aspects of  the universe of Adam Kadmon, progressing down from right to left (note: this is because Hebrew is written that way) i.e. five infinite worlds of emanation, progressing from the Godhead to creation.
The next five columns represent the corresponding five aspects of the Universe of Atzilut.
The last  of these (far left hand column) is the lowest, and represents Ze'er Anpin (Z"O) and Nukvah (Malkut, Shekinah), or the male and female polarities of the Personal God in the Lurianic teaching.  These are the source and root of the three lower worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah (the three tiny partitions at the very bottom left of the diagram)
Above these three worlds (shown going across the bottom of the five left-hand columns of Atzilut) is the parso or "barrier" that prevents the Light from the transcendent worlds raying down and overwhelming the lower three worlds.


There are some really amazing parallels between this cosmological diagram and the corersponding systems of Sethian and Valentinian Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Kashmir Shaivism and Bengali Shaktism, and Theosophy.   Here are some (no doubt others could be suggested, including with otehr esoteric systems of thought)


The Light of Redemption

The following is Rabbi Levi I. Krakovsky's explanation of the diagram and the way it pertains to the restitution of the universe.

To the right of this diagram, there are the fixed positions of the five partzufim (phases) of Adam Kadmon. Only the body, not the head of the upper partzuf is robed by the next phase below it.  In the same manner are all the consecutive partzufim arranged from the first to the last. Even the soul of man takes on the saw form when garmenting the higher spirit by the lower one. Follomg the five Partzufim of Adam Kadmon are the five Partzufim (phases) of the world of Atzilut, they also encloth each other and they in turn encloth the world of Adam Kadmon. The dotted line drawn from each head of the five parzufim of Attilut to the opposite partzuf in Adam Kadmon shows the measure of height from which they obtain nourishment. The head of the first phase, Attik of Atzilut, stands opposite the inner Tiferet of Adam Kadmon from where it derives its light. The five partzufim of the world of Atzilut not extend to the very end of the three nether worlds as the Adam Kadmon does.  They reach only to the "Parso" barrier fixed by our Maker, the double line where the nether worlds of "B"Y"A" (Beriah, Yetzirajh, and Asiyah) begin. Thus, the terminating point of the five phases of Atzilut is above the last four Sephiroth of all the phases of Adam Kadmon, below which Atailut never descends.  The superior phase in tenuity is the nearest to its source. This can further clarified:  The double line below the five partzufim (phases) of Atzilut is the barrier or target of Atzilut. It is the point where the clash union of the returning lights of man (m'n) unite with the descending light (m'd) from above. The three worlds below this point are called: Briah, Creation; Yetzira, Formation and Assiah, our mundane world, which terminate even with at of the feet of the source of all sources, Adam Kadmori. These three worlds which are below Atzilut have an admixture of evil spirit in them. The coarsest of the evil spirit is in our mundane world. At the time of their purification, they will be raised and will unite with the world of Atzilut. Then they will be joined eternally with the pure godliness of Atzflut. All the barriers which obstruct the heavenly light will be removed, thus causing the influx of the greatest of all lights, the feet of Adam Kadmon. other words: the three worlds which are below the "Parso" or target of Atzilut will be raised above the double line, the barrier Atzilut. The vacuum left below the target, because of the ascent the nether worlds, will be replenished with the inrush of the new most powerful light of Adam Kadmon, "archetype" of all spiritual realms and souls. This is the light of the Messiah. Such outburst of heavenly light will also spell the miraculous redemption of all the worlds and Mankind. This is what the prophet meant. when he said: "And his feet will stand on that day upon Mount of Olives . . ." Meaning the feet of Adam Kadmon will illuminate Israel first. It is the disclosure of the light of Crown hidden in its feet, the very Source of all Sources, Crown, the world of Adam Kadmon. (Zechariah 14: 4). In the wake of such a dazzling light, also the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah will follow, namely, that death will be erased from the face of the earth. will destroy death to eternity...." (Isaiah 25: 8).
[Rabbi Levi I. Krakovsky, Kabbalah, the Light of Redemption, Research Centre of Kabbalah,  1970, p.98-99]

More Parallels

Some more parallels can be suggested between the above redemptive scenario and other systems of thought; specifically Sri Aurobindo.  The transcendent Light of Adam Kadmon that has the power to redeem the universe, the "Light of the Messiah", is clearly equivalent to the Supramental transformation of Aurobindo.  The symbolism of Light is of course very important in Gnosticism and Manichaeism, and also, interestingly, in Kashmir Shaivism (prakasha - the light of consciousness).


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page uploaded 2 November 1998